I’ve recommended to many of my clients and colleagues that they should start using Social Media as a customer service tool.
I was going to cancel my membership anyway (because I prefer to support an independent gym if I can but also because I legitimately injured myself and could not go and it seemed pointless to keep paying any longer) but by the time I put up the facebook post I was furious and my opinion of this brand was terrible.
Within 5 minutes of that post I had a call from an incredibly friendly and helpful Fitness First employee who gave me several options but did not try to disuade, apologised and rectified the problem in a short phone call. By using Social Media as a customer service tool Fitness First turned my opinion around in less than 10 minutes. For companies that are risk averse and struggling with how to integrate social media into their digital strategy and communications – customer service is probably a good starting point. About UsWe're on a mission to educate and inspire the not-for-profit industry about digital marketing & fundraising so we can give every donor a great online experience. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation. Evaluate whether the organization can meet those needs in some way that allows for profitable exchanges with customers to occur. Pursue advertising, promotional, and public relations campaigns that lead to continued successful exchanges between the company and its customers.
The actual marketing plan you create will be written primarily for executives, who will use the forecasts in your plan to make budgeting decisions. In the “business challenge” section of the plan, the planner describes the offering and provides a brief rationale for why the company should invest in it.
Your marketing plan has to convince busy executives and other stakeholders that your idea is worth investing in. The market section of the plan should describe your customers and competitors, any other organizations with which you will collaborate, and the state of the market.
Break the market into customer segments and describe each segment completely, answering those questions for each segment. These segments would be based on research that Progresso has completed showing that these are the groups that eat the most soup. Your discussion of each segment should also include how to reach the customers within it, what they expect or need in terms of support (both presales and postsales support), and other information that helps readers understand how each segment is different from the others. Include the results of your analysis of your company’s strengths and weaknesses in this section. You will also need to identify any functional areas in which your company might need to invest for the plan to succeed. One tool that is useful for framing these questions is the SWOT analysisAn acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, the SWOT analysis is a tool that frames the situational analysis..
When working with executives, some consultants have noted the difficulty executives have in separating opportunities from strengths, weaknesses from threats.
The SWOT analysis for a company, or for any organization, is both internal and external in focus. Along with company strengths and weaknesses, identify any actual or potential partners needed to pull the plan off. Your marketing plan, if it is any good at all, is likely to spark retaliation from one or more competitors. Identify your competitors and be honest about both their strengths and weaknesses in your marketing.
A complete competitive analysis not only anticipates how the competition will react; it also includes an analysis of the competition’s financial resources. You may have already addressed some of the factors in the business environment that are creating the opportunity for your offering. A scan of the political climate should include any new government regulations as well as legislation. The housing crisis was caused by a failure in the subprime lending market, an economic condition that affected many other businesses. The next section of the plan details the strategy your organization will use to develop, market, and sell the offering. Provide detail on the features and benefits of the offering, including pricing options, in this section. The plan for the offering should also include the plan for introducing offerings that will follow the initial launch.
Part of an offering is the service support consumers need to extract the offering’s full value. Prior to launching a new offering, the presales and postsales support personnel for it have to be trained and the appropriate work processes created so that the right level of support is provided. In addition to the announcement of the new product, the communication plan has to specify how ongoing customer communications will be conducted. The budget section is more than just a discussion of the money needed to launch the new offering.
The budget section should include the costs associated with maintaining the amount of inventory of the product to meet customers’ needs.
Note that Figure 16.8 "A Marketing Plan Timeline Illustrating Market Potential, Sales, and Costs" shows that the product’s costs are high early on and then decrease before leveling out.
A marketing plan’s executive summary should include a brief summary of the market, the product to be offered, the strategy behind the plan, and the budget, as well as any other important information. The budget section of the marketing plan covers all the resources, such as new personnel, new equipment, new locations, and so forth, needed to successfully launch the product, as well as details about the product’s costs and sales forecasts. Youa€™ll be joining the 130,000 Smart Insights members from 80 countries who trust our advice to Plan, Manage and Optimize their marketing.
This week Facebook released a new guide titled "Best Practice Guide: Marketing on Facebook". They don't highlight the importace of understanding your audience and developing the right types of content and offers to encourage Liking - there's more to it than Ads as they suggest! For each of the Five Principles Facebook suggest five steps to consider with examples - great. So to show my gratitude, I returned to their Facebook page and posted my good experience so that their users could see the full story.
These people will make budgeting decisions not only for your marketing activities but also for the firm’s manufacturing, ordering, and production departments, and other functions based on your plan.
Your firm’s sales force will use the marketing plan to determine its sales strategies and how many salespeople are needed. An executive summary should provide all the information your company’s executives need to make a decision without reading the rest of the plan.
You are trying not only to influence executives to invest in your idea but also to convince other people in your organization to buy into the plan.
We suggest that you always start the section by describing the customers who will purchase the offering. What makes these people decide to buy the products they do, and how do they fulfill their personal value equations? When you write your plan, begin with the most important segment first and work your way to the least important segment.
After reading the section, a person should have a good grasp of how the segments differ yet understand how the needs of each are satisfied by the total offering. Listen as Katie Scallan-Sarantakes describes how she had to consider these factors when creating marketing plans for Toyota. For example, money might be needed for new production or distribution facilities and to hire new marketing or sales employees and train existing ones. Statements such as “We have an opportunity to leverage our strong product features” indicate such confusion. Some of the external areas for focus are collaborators (suppliers, distributors, and others), competitors, and the business climate. AT&T is downstream in the value chain, providing the needed cell service and additional features that made the iPhone so revolutionary.


Remember that other people, and perhaps other organizations, will be using your plan to create their own plans. For example, when you discussed customers, you perhaps noted a new technology they are beginning to use. For example, will changes in the tax laws make for more or less disposable income among our customers?
While 2008 saw tremendous swings in gas prices, other factors such as the subprime lending crisis and decline of the housing market affected everything from the price of corn to the sales of movie tickets. Marketers, for example, may note the rise in the Hispanic population as a market segment, but it is also important to recognize the influence of the Hispanic culture.
Produced by Guidant Technologies, this pacemaker utilizes information technology to record heart-function data a doctor can read later. The huge bailout of the banks by the government is an example of how the economic environment affects the political environment. This section is your opportunity to create a compelling argument as to what you intend to do and why others should invest in the strategy.
For example, in some instances, your organization might plan for several variations of the offering, each with different pricing options. In B2B (business-to-business) environments, sellers frequently offer to train their customers’ employees to use products as part of their postsales support. These call-center technicians had to first learn the offering’s technical processes before it could be launched. Will it be like Dow Corning’s launch of a new silicon acrylate copolymer, a product used to add color to cosmetics?
The mechanisms used to gather customer feedback as well as how the offering will be promoted to customers need to be spelled out. You can put additional details in a separate planning document that outlines the product’s advertising strategies, event strategies (such as trade shows and special events like customer golf tournaments that will be used to promote the product), and sales strategies. A complete budget section will cover all the resources, such as new personnel, new equipment, new locations, and so forth, for the launch to be a success.
The plan might point out that additional funds need to be allocated to the offering to make it ready for the market. The costs to provide customers with support services should also be estimated and budgeted.
Even though the plan likely mentioned the sales goals set for each market segment, the budget section is where the details go. That cost line assumes there is a heavy upfront investment to launch the offering, which is usually true for new products. You want it to convince someone to invest in your ideas, so you want to write it down on paper in a compelling way. In this section of the plan, the planner describes the offering and a brief rationale for why the company should invest in it.
We think it's really helpful since it has different models to help you think about how to market better with Facebook. As you post content and offers and interact with your audience then you can engage and amplify.
I like the way they're not just about selling, but market research and new product development too.
If you’re going to have a presence in social media, it needs to be monitored closely, especially for big companies with big brands to protect, and your staff need to be empowered to respond. I hurt my back a few months ago and I went from visiting the gym 5 days a week to not going even once in 4 months. The entire marketing staff will rely on the plan to determine the direction and nature of their activities. The summary should include a brief description of the market, the product to be offered, the strategy behind the plan, and the budget. How does it fit in with what the company is already doing and further its overall business goals? You are also trying to tell a compelling story that will make people outside your organization—for example, the director of the advertising agency you work with, or a potential supplier or channel partner—invest money, time, and effort into making your plan a success. Why is the company uniquely capable of capitalizing on the opportunity outlined in the plan? A better way to describe those “strong” product features mentioned earlier would be to say “strong reputation among product designers,” unless consumer acceptance has already been documented. A small retail chain would have to look beyond its regional operating area in order to understand larger trends that may impact the stores. A SWOT analysis that only looks at the immediate future (or the immediate past) is likely to miss important trends. Collaborators are those organizations, either upstream or downstream in the value chain, you need to partner with to cocreate value. Who is most likely to enter the market, what would their offering look like, and how can we make it harder for them to want to enter the market? Will the tightening of government regulations affect how salespeople can call on doctors, for example, hindering your marketing opportunity? Such volatility is unusual, but it is important nonetheless to know what the economy is doing. Understanding the Hispanic culture is important in reaching this market segment with the right marketing mix.
But the product might also utilize other new technologies, such as a new battery, materials used to connect the pacemaker to the heart, and the casing for the pacemaker, all of which affect its performance. Instead of writing letters to one another, families and friends use e-mail and social networking sites to communicate and maintain relationships. The laws passed as a result of the bank bailout, which include more-restrictive lending practices, are affecting banks, businesses, and consumers.
Your reader will be asking, “Why should we adopt this strategy?” To answer that question, you may need to include a brief discussion of the strategic alternatives that were considered and discarded. The different options should be discussed in detail, along with the market segments expected to respond to each option. For example, Teradata has a team of finance specialists who can help customers document the return on investment they would get from purchasing and implementing a Teradata data warehouse. Before you launch an offering, you need to be sure your firm’s support services are in place. For example, will you create an online community like Laura Carros did with the JCPenney Ambrielle line? For example, perhaps additional beta testing or product development over and above what the firm normally commits to new products is needed. Some products will be returned, some services will be rejected by the consumer, and other problems will occur. For example, the cost for advertising, trade shows, special events, and salespeople should be spelled out. Your conclusion should remind the reader of all the reasons why your plan is the best choice.
Figure 16.9 "Tips for Writing an Effective Marketing Plan" offers some tips for effectively doing so.
The market section of the plan should describe a firm’s customers, competitors, any other organizations with which it will collaborate, and the climate of the market.
But these aren't details on advertising rather the frameworks help you plan or review your Facebook strategy - thee five guiding principles are particularly useful I think. At no point did the gym contact me to see what had happened but that’s another marketing retention strategy and discussion. The advertising agency you hire to create your promotional campaigns will use the plan to guide its creative team.
Any other important information, such as how your competitors and channel partners will respond to the actions your firm takes, should also be summarized.
Therefore, as you write the plan you should constantly be answering the question, “Why should I invest in this plan?” Put your answers in the business challenge section of the plan.


Engineers at Mars (makers of Skittles, M&Ms, and Snickers) visit trade shows in many fields, not just candy, so that they can identify trends in manufacturing that may take a decade to reach the candy industry. Involve people from shipping, sales, production, and perhaps even from suppliers and channel members. Teradata primarily focuses on the information technology departments that support the data warehouse, whereas Unica focuses on the marketing departments that actually use the data warehouse.
If your company captures their market before they can enter, then they may choose to go elsewhere. Include, too, in this section of the plan how quickly you expect your competitors to retaliate and what the nature of that retaliation will be.
Will federal policies that affect exchange rates or tariffs make global competitors stronger or weaker? In creating marketing campaigns for something such as a financial product, it’s very important to understand the history that Hispanics have had with financial institutions in their home countries. For example, when Ted Schulte (profiled in Chapter 13 "Professional Selling") discusses a pacemaker with a cardiac surgeon, Ted is describing the latest technology available. Online communication has affected any number of businesses, including the greeting card business and the U.S.
Any looming changes in the business climate such as this need to be included in your marketing plan.
When readers complete the section, they should conclude that the strategy you proposed is the best one available. Some marketing professionals like to specify the sales goals for each option in this section, along with the associated costs and gross profit margins for each.
Should there be smaller sizes and larger sizes, and should they be introduced all at the same time or in stages? This presales support helps potential buyers make a stronger business case for buying Teradata’s products with executives who control their companies’ budgets. That means training service personnel, creating the appropriate communication channels for customers to air their technical concerns, and other processes. Or will you invite customers, media, and analysts from around the globe to your company’s offices for the launch, as SAS did with its SAS 9 software product? In some instances, the budget might require that existing resources be redeployed and a case made for doing so. Certainly, marketing funds will be needed to launch the offering and pay for any special events, advertising, promotional materials, and so forth. However, the market potential stays the same, assuming that the potential number of customers stays the same.
The strategy section details the tactics the organization will use to develop, market, and sell the offering.
Anyway, I could not get through on the internet – they want you to call so they can try to talk you out of it, of course. Because most executives will be reading the plan to make budgeting decisions, the budgeting information you include in the summary is very important.
After that, discuss your competitors, the climate, and your company in the order you believe readers will find most persuasive. Opportunities and threats are external to the company, and could be due to potential or actual actions taken by competitors, suppliers, or customers.
Assuming demand (an external characteristic) for a strength (an internal characteristic) is a common marketing mistake. In this way, they can shorten the cycle and take advantage of such trends early when needed. Nonetheless, Teradata is well aware of Unica’s marketing strategy and is taking steps to combat it by broadening its own market to include data-warehousing users in marketing departments. Will they lower their prices, create similar offerings, add services to drive up the value of their products, spend more on advertising, or a combination of these tactics? For example, the government introduced the Cash for Clunkers program to encourage people to buy new cars. Understanding that culturally Hispanics might not trust financial institutions and developing campaigns that generate positive word of mouth, such as refer-a-friend and influencer tactics, can be explosive once the wall has been torn down. The new technology could be related to the battery used to power the pacemaker, the materials used in the leads (the wires that connect the pacemaker to the body), or even the material that encases the pacemaker. Other planners prefer to wait until the budget section of the plan to provide that information. In addition, the distribution section should specify the inventories that need to be maintained in order to meet customer expectations for fast delivery and where those inventories should be kept. Funds might also be needed to cover the costs of training salespeople and service personnel and potentially hiring new staff members.
The sales costs for one month might be estimated, as well as two months, six months, and so forth, as Figure 16.8 "A Marketing Plan Timeline Illustrating Market Potential, Sales, and Costs" shows. When readers complete the strategy section, they should conclude that the proposed strategy is the best one available.
I could not get through on the phone, to head office or my local branch, but what was most annoying was that I was waiting on hold for 10 minutes before the automated system would tell me that I could not speak to anyone. Next, we will discuss the elements in detail so you will know how to prepare a marketing plan. If the executives want more detail, they can refer to the “budget” section, which appears later in the plan.
In other words, discuss the factor you believe is most convincing first, followed by the second-most convincing factor, and so on. Opportunities and threats could also be a function of government action or changes in technology and other factors.
One step was to teach their salespeople what marketing managers do and how they would use a data warehouse as part of their job so that when these salespeople are talking to marketing managers, they can know what they’re talking about.
Within only a few weeks, 250,000 new cars were sold through the program and it ran out of money. Understanding the technological environment can provide you with a greater understanding of a product’s life cycle and the direction the market is taking when it comes to newer technologies. If we were targeting mothers of babies, for example, the market potential might vary based on the projected seasonality in birth rates because more babies tend to be born in some months than others.
A good marketing plan includes how the organization should respond to various scenarios if the market changes. The executive summary should be less than one page long; ideally, it should be about a half page long. To answer these questions, you will need to carefully review your competitors’ financial statements and all information publicly available about them. In addition, the plan should include “triggers” detailing what should happen under the scenarios. Most marketing plan writers find it easier to write a plan’s summary last, even though it appears first in the plan.
This can include an executive quoted in an article about a company’s growth for a particular product or an analyst’s projection for future sales within a specific market.
Details for the sales force, such as how many salespeople, sales managers, and support personnel will be needed, would go in this section.
For example, it might specify that when a certain percentage of market share is reached, then the price of the product will be reduced (or increased). A summary is hard to write when you don’t know the whole plan, so waiting until the plan is complete makes writing the executive summary easier. Or the plan might specify the minimum amount of the product that must be sold by a certain point in time—say, six months after the product is launched—and what should happen if the mark isn’t reached. For that reason, the outline of a marketing plan may look somewhat different from the order in which the tasks in the outline are actually completed.



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